Of Red Dragons and Evil Spirits
Post-Communist Historiography between Democratization and New Politics of History
The collection of well-researched essays assesses the uses and misuses of history 25 years after the collapse of Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe. As opposed to the revival of national histories that seemed to be the prevailing historiographical approach of the 1990s, the last decade has seen a particular set of narratives equating Nazism and Communism. This provides opportunities to exonerate wartime collaboration, casting the nation as victim even when its government was allied with Germany. While the Jewish Holocaust is acknowledged, its meaning and significance are obfuscated.
In their comparative analysis the authors are also interested in new practices of ‘Europeanness’. Therefore their presentations of Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian and Slovenian post-communist memory politics move beyond the common national myths in order to provide a new insight into transnational interactions and exchanges in Europe in general. The juxtaposition of these politics, the processes in other parts of Europe, the modes of remembering shaped by displacement and the transnational enable a close encounter with the divergences and assess the potential of the formation of common, European memory practices.
Oto Luthar is professor at the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences, Ljubljana, Slovenia